Thursday, September 14, 2006

1-59 vs 60

As any Warcraft player who's hit 60 can attest, the game changes. And this isn't new information. I know that as long as I've been reading about WoW that's been a topic of discussion. The purpose of this post is try and identify, from my perspective, what those differences are how a player addresses them.

1-59 the grind
When you start the game and get familiar with it you have one ultimate goal: XP. Sure the methods of getting XP differ and can be fun in their own right, but it all boils down to XP. I'll go kill this mob or collect these drops for an NPC and I'll get XP along the way. Ultimately I'll get a few levels and move onto other NPC's that'll offer me the same thing. Occasionally you'll get the opportunity to get some nice items, but that is really secondary to the whole XP thing.

The nice thing about XP is that it's a time sink. If I invest enough time in questing or grinding I'll get a level. With that level comes talent points, new skills (evens only), new weapons and armor I can use, etc. So you get rewarded for investing time in questing or grinding. You can even get XP for PvP with the token turn ins. All of these things are very solo friendly. While you can get nice blues from instances, it'll still be eclipsed by the greens that drop commonly in another 5-6 levels.

60 End Game
The thing that I noticed most when I hit 60 was that the only way to improve my character was by improving my gear. Now there are a lot of ways that one can get gear at 60. PvP, raiding, reputation, instancing, etc. However you no longer can count on gains from a simple investment in time. Aside from grinding reputation almost everything you do to get better gear involves a group and involves a chunk of committed time. For a lot of people, myself included, that's a significant barrier. I would not be surprised if I spend as much time in game as many 'hard-core' raiders, but my time is rarely garaunteed to be uninterrupted. With a wife and small child, I have a many significant RL responsibilities that require my attention and certainly interfere with my ability to be part of an instance or raid.

What this realization meant for me is that I play my "Main" less that I play my non-60 alts. All my toons are in the same guild and the only time I really log Sakuran is if I know there's a instance going on and I think RL can wait for a bit (AKA they're asleep), otherwise I grind Laic, Repentant, or Didgeridoo as that game can easily be in 15 minute chunks.

What do I think Blizzard could do to improve this situation? Simple make more loot obtainable through quests that don't require you to step into an instance. Now, I'm not asking that the gear you can obtain be better or even equal to what you can get inside an instance, but at least make it worthwhile. From the perspective of my main, the only gear improvements I have ahead of me are in instances. Most of my Tier 0 could be considered an improvement (all BoP from here) and even the 'casual-friendly' updrades to Tier .5 require the freaking 45 minute Baron run (yeah, right) and UBRS.

Not that I'm griping about that, but I'm just really amazed at how much my play style has changed since I dinged. Now, admittedly, when Burning Crusade comes out we'll have 10 more leves of that first game, which should also take around as long as the 1-59 originally took. If Blizzard stick to their expansion a year plan perhaps my end-game woes will be less fequent than my 'instant' gratification of the grinding game.

So, until next time I'll be grinding my alts :P


Kinless said...

You're right.

My 60 Shaman can't raid anymore (and did manage to get his full Tier 1 together before he stopped) and then what? He got Exalted with Frostwolf and got that gear. And then what? He worked even more on his PvP rank, but that's just too brutal. He stopped at Rank 7, with gloves and boots. He's an alchemist, so what rep can he get/grind, SOLO, that will give him better potions? Good luck getting Zandalar rep solo. Or Cenarian. Or any of them. Soloists can't really get rep except through the BG's. --- And that's all she wrote. Retirement.

My 56 Warrior has been working at AV and PvP, some, and has all of the Tier 0 gear to acquire. And then, not being able to raid given I'm +7 hours ahead of the server, then what?

The expansion will be a boon.

However, you mention questing for reward.

Why not this: Why not a quest, or a variety of them, that take a little while, are tough, BUT POSSIBLE!, to solo, and it's repeatable? And rather than one single reward worth getting, how about a complete set of them available to you. Run the quest once, lots of xp and your first of that set. Run it again, less xp and your second of that set. Rinse and repeat until you've got the whole set. And the set should be pretty good. Not the best, but worth the time, and not random. And make the quest something fun to do solo. (And offer such quest sets for the various "off-specs" like for Enhancement Shaman, Feral Druids, etc. I bet people would run this just to have outfits. The full Grimaxe & Sons Tuxedo set. 1,000's would run that quest just for a tuxedo.

s4dfish said...

I think your idea of repeatable quests would offer a lot to the game. I also like the concept of being able to solo for decent gear. Currently a majority of my gear is pure AH stuff with a few BoP pieces from guild runs. Would be nice if there was something to do at this point aside from PvP...